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Oregon is the first state to bring back outdoor mask mandates for both vaccinated and unvaccinated people amid a sharp new rise in cases

3 weeks ago 59

August 25, 2021 1:06 PM

Oregon will require masks in most outdoor settings from Friday, Gov. Kate Brown said Tuesday.

A woman wearing a face mask in Portland, Oregon.
The rule will apply to most people aged 5 or over, and to both vaccinated and unvaccinated people. The measure comes as some outdoor events were linked to COVID-19 clusters, a state official said. See more stories on Insider's business page .

Oregon is becoming the first state to bring back statewide outdoor masking requirements as the Delta variant drives a sharp new surge in cases.

People will not need to wear masks in the cases of "fleeting" encounters, such as walking the dog in the morning or crossing paths on a hiking trail, Brown said.

Masking is also "strongly recommended," but not mandatory, for outdoor gatherings in private residences, but will not apply to homeless people, Brown said.

The measure is aimed at curbing the spread of the Delta variant, which is "throwing our state into a level of crisis we have not yet seen," Brown said.

COVID-19 cases reported in Oregon. Daily reported COVID-19 cases are in blue, and the seven-day average in red.

Oregon reported a record 1,000 COVID-19-related hospitalizations on Tuesday alone, Brown said.

CDC guidelines stay that masks are "in general" not needed outdoors, regardless of vaccination status, but people can "consider" wearing masks in crowded settings where rates of COVID-19 are high.

But Dr. Dean Sidelinger, Oregon's state health officer, said in a Tuesday statement that recent instances of cases clustering around outdoor events have prompted concern. Sidelinger did not give specifics on those events.

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